Royalton superintendent John Phelps brought forth for discussion the possibility of beginning school a couple weeks early, likely via distance learning, after he learned June 18 that the state would allow it.
“The state has changed the ruling on it during this special time,” Phelps said. “The state feels that if we may be shut down for a couple weeks, this could make up for that.”
Though he was the one who brought it up. He did not think it should happen.
“I don’t like it because No. 1 people have their calendars already known,” Phelps said. “Teachers already have things planned, but I wanted to bring it up for discussion.”
Board member Ellie Holm questioned whether it was required to be distance learning. Phelps said that it did not, it may be allowable to have it as physical school, but he felt that if it was such short notice that the most feasible route would be via distance learning.
“Personally, I would say no to it,” Holm said.
That sentiment was echoed by directors Mark Petron and Russ Gerads.
High School principal Joel Swenson said that everyone in the school building would like to go back to something near normal.
“We want them back,” Swenson said. “My fear of starting with the distance learning is that we’ve had experiences that run the whole gamut. To kick of the school year, you’re getting them here and forming relationships. Who wants to login to a computer on August 19?”
He also fears that it is pretty late to be trying to plan something like this.
He also said that he believes students would not want to start with distance learning either.
“Although it might not be overtly, I believe that kids will be glad to come back,” Swenson said. “The kids that I’ve talked to that work around town, they’ve definitely missed this place, and that’s pretty cool.”
“Overwhelmingly what I’ve heard is that (with distance learning) that is not what I signed up for,” Swenson said. “The commercials where you can go to school in your pajamas, it is not always what they make it out to be.”
The school did nothing further to add the required steps to move toward starting school earlier, which superintendent Phelps confirmed means that there would be no way to start early.
He said school will begin, in person, as planned after Labor Day.
Royalton School Board Briefs
In other business Monday, the Royalton School Board:
• Approved the adopted budget for the 2020-21 school year;
• Accepted the resignations of JV softball coach Kristen Gotfredson, high school para Brittany Asfeld, bus driver Richard Vig and custodian Anthony Skroch;
• Approved the hiring of Nancy Schmidtbauer, elementary para and Marty Bratsch, tech ed teacher and Project Lead the Way director;
• Approved the contract for Network Specialist Coordinator, David Lemm, for 2019-21;
• Accepted a $2,100 donation from the American Legion to the Royalton band, and a $1,500 donation to the trap shooting team from the Rice Area Sportsman’s Club;
• Approved joining the girls hockey co-op with Prairie Centre, which include Long Prairie-Grey Eagle, Sauk Centre and Melrose; and
• Approved the MSHSL agreement for the 2020-21 activities year.
The next regular meeting of the Royalton School Board will be at 6 p.m., Monday, July 27.